This is another of those writing exercise inspired post, where I sit down for a set period of time and just write about whatever comes into my head. Well, actually in the case of this blog, the conditions are a bit more restricted. Here, I'm trying to produce posts that will capture my thoughts about a specific thing or event that I think you might be interested in. I'm experimenting with writing this way, because I spend too much time composing posts, which is not a bad thing in itself, but if I want to post more than once a week at the moment, in the middle of marking and other deadlines--and I do--then this is the only way I'll manage it.
I wanted to post about the day Dogpossum's Squeeze came to town. It was yesterday when he turned up on my doorstep in Brisbane. I 'd talked to Dogpossum the night before, while I was standing on the corner of Adelaide and Edward Streets waiting to meet Dr. H, before we went off to a house party in honour of one of our friends who has completed his PhD. It can be done, I hear. Dogpossum's just submitted too, did you know that? Anyway, there I was talking into my phone, which is exactly like the one all the girls on Australian Idol have, organising for DP's Squeeze to contact me. I think I must be fifteen years old at heart--whenever I hear those disparaging descriptions of adolescents and their text messaging antics, I feel an uncomfortable sense of self-recognition.
I spent yesterday morning marking, and then I heard from DP's Squeeze. Suddenly I had to put on my 'Welcome to Brisbane' tourist guide hat. Where would he like to go? I alighted on the idea of 'The Dogpossum Tour of Brisbane', which involved going and viewing various places that Dogpossum frequented during the time I knew her in Brisbane.
The first stop was The New Farm Deli for some breakfast for DP's Squeeze and some lunch for me. Fancy sandwiches and spaghetti were consumed. I spotted DP's honours supervisor at one point, as she came from the supermarket, but I wasn't quick enough to catch her attention and introduce DP's Squeeze to one of her intellectual/teaching heroines. We looked at the big cheeses and the hanging salamis in the window of the New Farm Deli as we ate. There's nothing I can show a Melbourne person about mediterranean food. There was a bit of sushi and where to find excellent Thai food talk though. I haven't mentioned the effect DP's Squeeze's t-shirt had on the waitress. She approached our table and read: 'In Case of Emergency Break Dance', before bursting into laughter.
It was a pretty crap day weather wise. Queensland didn't live up to the promise of its tourist slogan, but no-one who lives here cares about sunny weather anymore. It just means we're heading towards Level 4 water restrictions.
Continuing the Dogpossum Tour of Brisbane, I got DP's Squeeze to drive past her old flat. On the way, I pointed out the place where Dogpossum first took up swing dancing. Okay, the sequence in which we saw these sights is a bit unclear. We had a look at the Brisbane Powerhouse, but it was pretty uneventful. We went to West End, where I pointed out the building that caused such a fuss when it first went up, the harbinger of the suburb's gentrification in all its excessive, attempted multicultural mish-mashed referenced glory. I showed Dogpossum's Squeeze, the famous Mick's Nuts, the squishy little bulk supply shop for all the olives I could ever consume. The service is old-fashioned. You stand there and they gather things up for you. Sometimes there's an old man sitting on a chair near the fridge recovering from the effort of his walk to the shop. I thought we would be able to see the University from the West End ferry stop, but we couldn't. I pointed in the general direction and we talked about the bends in the river.
We ended up at South Bank, walking through a man-made rainforest and running for shelter under a Nepalese Peace Pagoda, while the rain bucketed down. Inside there was what appeared to be an impromptu poetry reading, perhaps it was part of the Writers' Festival. We had a look at the man-made beach too. The wading pools smelled strongly of chlorine, but the seagulls and ibis didn't seem to mind. We walked along the award winning arbour, covered in bougainvillia, but recently savagely trimmed. I've always been reminded of a kind of sinister yellow-brick road and dangerous Hansel and Gretel inspired woods whenever I've walked along it before. I refrained from sharing my impression of with Dogpossum's Squeeze. Anyway, I think it's been transformed for me by Jaya Savige's poem about Brisbane which I read recently in the first issue of the ALR supplement of The Australian. What a wonderful rambling, expansive Brisbane poem.
By this time I was ready for a coffee, so we went and ate sweet dessert type concoctions, decorated with sprigs of lavender, and looked at the rain. The rain in Brisbane is warmer according to Dogpossum's Squeeze. If it were Melbourne, he wouldn't have been sitting there in a t-shirt. And he tells me that people don't run through the rain without any protection the way so many seemed to be doing. See, you're not likely to freeze in Brisbane when you're wet.
The day ended with a great big walk along the river at South Bank. We walked over a small bridge, curious as to where it went, and onto something called Picnic Island. At that point I wanted Dogpossum's Squeeze to play the ring tone on his phone for me again. It's a song about pirates. 'I'm a pirate, dum, de, something... Ahoy!' I tried to think if I knew anything about one of the buildings across the river that Dogpossum's Squeeze was asking about. I didn't, but said 'Look at the pedestrian bridge. It was built for the Goodwill Games'. Earlier I had attempted to explain Expo '88.
The students whose papers I'm marking might want me to give up my day job, but I don't think it'll be to become a tour guide. Still, if I don't mention the hire car, I think DP's Squeeze had a nice day. I was glad to be able to return the favour for the generous hospitality he's shown me when I've turned up on his and Dogpossum's doorstep.